It all started with beaver fur, black velvet and chicken wire.
That’s what Chester Greenwood, an inventive 15-year-old, gave his grandmother to sew together to help him ice skate longer in the Maine winter.
After three years of improvements, he patented the contraption as the “Champion Ear Protector,” or “ear-mufflers,” on March 13, 1877.
Before Mr. Greenwood died in 1937, his company was churning out 400,000 earmuffs annually at its peak — many of them for the U.S. military.
But he didn’t stop with earmuffs. He had more than 100 patents and inventions, including the steel-tooth rake, a teakettle with a special bottom, a pipe vise and an umbrella holder for mail carriers.
Chester Greenwood Day is still celebrated in Maine each December.